Ending religious censorship: Harry Potter style

Religion has always been and still is a sensitive topic; even in the United States, where the First Amendment grants religious freedom to its citizens.
One of the solutions to this tension tends to be the censorship of secular ideas or propaganda altogether.
To combat this, the Troy University Secular Student Alliance (TUSSA) has been organizing the free viewings of all the Harry Potter movies, based on the classic Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling.
Religious censorship, according to Josh Simmons, a sophomore mathematics major from Alba and president of TUSSA, is defined as the process in which religious individuals prevent others, particularly those closest to them, from participating in activities, watching movies or television shows or listening to music, that is deemed “secular” or worldly in the scope of their personal, religious beliefs. This includes the Harry Potter series.
“There are a lot of churches around that do not want their members to read or watch Harry Potter because they condemn it as sorcery and the work of the devil,” said Simmons.
“I know people who have not been able to watch Pokémon because their parents did not allow them.”
Pokémon is a Japanese media franchise, which has various monster characters with different powers and abilities of which are believed to be occultism practices, including (but not limited to) magic, alchemy, extra-sensory perception and astrology.
This kind of censorship varies between the levels of religious affiliation, and the lack thereof, within family households.
“My parents were secular, so there was no restriction over things like these,” said Cade Ashley, a sophomore economics major from Clanton.
Religious censorship aside, this watching series is also intended to bring the fans and readers of Harry Potter together to share their ideas and perspectives.
“It was an attempt to bring Harry Potter to the people on campus, especially to those who have not been able to see it before for religious reasons,” said Simmons.
According to Simmons, TUSSA is a group of non-religious students that provides a medium for members to openly discuss critical problems without judgement.
Simmons states that all individuals can contribute to ending religious censorship by personally speaking up against it.
“When provided with the opportunity to combat religious censorship or censorship of any variety, I take my first amendment rights to the maximum,” said Simmons.
TUSSA invites all students to attend the viewings, which will continue with “Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix,” this Thursday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m. in Bibb Graves Hall Room 129.

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